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‘Over 600 skeletons buried in Dera’

Skeletons buried across the massive Dera campus, with saplings planted over them, says former official

Gulf News

New Delhi: The former Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) vice-president, P.R. Nain, on Wednesday told the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that more than 600 human skeletons are buried inside the sect’s headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana.

“The skeletons are buried across the massive Dera campus, with saplings planted over them. Some of these saplings are now large trees,” Nain told the SIT.

He further said the Dera started planting saplings on the land where the skeletons were buried on the advice of a German scientist.

“Dera followers believe that those who are buried inside the Dera attain ‘moksha’ [salvation]. They believe Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is [a deity] and there is nothing wrong in their wish to be buried inside the Dera,” he further said.

The sect’s mouthpiece “Sach Kahoon” also admitted on Wednesday that human remains were buried inside the premises.

“Some people are projecting these human remains as skeletons of human beings. These are just left out remains of the bodies collected from the cremation grounds by the family members concerned. These are roughly called ‘ashthian’ with little burnt pieces of the bodies. As per the religious practices, these are immersed in the rivers. But this was done as sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh encouraged followers to donate the remains to the sect for burial and prevent these from being immersed in rivers, causing pollution. The human remains were buried within the campus and trees were planted on these,” the mouthpiece said in an editorial piece.

Some persons, who were earlier associated with the sect but left it later, have also alleged that Singh had those who opposed his activities killed and buried inside the 30-hectare campus.

On August 25, Singh was convicted of rape by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court. His conviction led to widespread rioting, which left 31 DSS members dead from clashes with police and 120 injured. On August 28, Singh was sentenced to 20 years in jail for rape.

He has also faced prosecution for murder and ordering forced castrations.